Should Apple be blamed for distracted driving accident?

We recently published a blog that discussed the various distractions that can turn drivers’ attention from the road, putting him or her, and others, at risk. While there are a number of distractions that can impact drivers, cell phones have been getting the most attention, and with good reason. According to a AAA pole, 21% of teens involved in accidents were using their cell phone at the time of an accident.

Distracted Driving Liability

Regardless of the reasons why texting while driving is such a problem -whether it be youthful stubbornness or, as some industry folks have suggested, addiction – when accidents do occur, the fault has generally been that of the driver. However, in a recent accident, the families of the victims are also trying to place the blame on Apple by filing a product liability lawsuit contending that Apple knew its phones would be used for texting and did not adequately safeguard their product.

As it turns out, Apple has a patent on technology that could prevent texting while driving; however, despite the recognition of the heightened risk associated with cell phone use while driving, the company has not yet implemented the technology into their phones. The reason given is that the technology is “embryonic and unreliable,” as well as their concerns over consumers’ rights to use their phones as they wish. Further, Apple has said that there have been other technologies they developed that work toward the same, end such as CarPlay, which “integrates with some cars so drivers can use voice commands to control some functions of the car and the phone, including letting them orally compose text messages and listen to incoming ones.”

Of course, the statistics do not lie – it is a growing problem. For some, these growing trends should be the main impetus for Apple and other tech companies to implement the blocking technology. The discussion around this issue will certainly continue. Technology produces opportunities to address safety issues, while at the same time continuing to produce new problems or vulnerabilities that must be addressed.

Regardless of these technologies, it remains as important as ever to practice safe driving habits to protect your safety and the safety of those around you.  Distracted driving is unfortunately on the rise and can cause result in serious injuries due to the distracted driver’s negligence.  If you have any questions or have suffered as a result of distracted driving, please contact us.

Kellam T. Parks
Managing Member of Parks Zeigler, PLLC
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